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October 17, 2003

Why searching for The Next Big Thing is a waste of time


What's going to be "The Next Big Thing" (or its variation the "next killer app")?

Reams and reams of newsprint, web pages, conferences, and even oh-so-precious TV air time, is devoted to this topic--especially now that the "Internet wave" has subsided a bit (or rather, become more "mainstream").

Tim Oren, a Silicon Valley veteran (currently Managing Director of VC firm, Pacifica Fund ), has made a great post at his web log explaining why looking out--or listening to the "punditocracy"--for the NBT is a waste of time. "The Next Big Thing is a narrative we lay on top of the events after they happen..... (it generally) sneaks up from behind while you're trying to do your work, kicks your ass, walks over you, and either rifles your pockets or drops gold into your hands," Oren says. "Anyone tells you different, you're talking to a liar." Oren goes on to "tell a few tales" from his personal experience--at Apple and Kaleida Labs--to illustrate his point.

Oren does doubt that there will indeed be a NBT. Only that the odds of anyone "calling it in advance aren't very wonderful. Most likely, it will hit rudely from behind, when least expected".

So, what's his advice (for folks looking for the NBT)? "Find something that solves problems for real people, gets you up in the morning, and lets you work with good folks, and dig in".

Click Here to visit Oren's blog to read his full post (titled "Silicon Valley 4.0: You never know where you're going 'til you get there")